Trish Bear is one of the lucky few — a high-tech entrepreneur who survived the dotcom bust and has built a thriving business based on the Internet.
Bear, 36, founded her company, Iology, in 1998 with $2,000 and a laptop computer. Today the Scottsdale-based company has 14 employees with millions of dollars in annual revenue. The company is planning to add five more employees and move to bigger offices next spring.
Bear said she used no venture capital to get started, and the company has been able to achieve exponential annual growth while remaining profitable each year of operation.
I-ology, 4150 N. Drinkwater Blvd., helps midsize business clients develop and maintain Web sites and maximize their revenue through online advertising, e-mail campaigns, enewsletters and other Internet strategies. In May the company added public relations to its lineup of services.
"Our goal is to grow regionally and become one of the top Internet strategy firms in the nation," Bear said.
The company has been recognized for achievements in growth and excellence many times including being ranked as Arizona’s fastest-growing woman-owned business for two consecutive years and being named as one of the state’s 50 fastest-growing technology firms. Also, the Web Marketing Association recognized two Web sites developed by I- olog y as WebAward recipients.
Bear never intended to start her own company. A business management graduate from Arizona State University in 1995, she went on to manage the commercial Web services division of Global-Center, a Phoenix-based provider of commercial Web site hosting, design and development.
While working with customers of GlobalCenter, Bear saw first-hand how many companies needed help in using the Internet to optimize their businesses, and she decided she could help them on her own.
Initially she worked out of a friend’s home, then she bought her own home and worked there. In 2002 she hired her first employee, and in April 2003 the enterprise moved into its first office at Pima Road and Via de Ventura. The company moved to its current offices in downtown Scottsdale in August 2003.
Bear said she was able to ride out the dot-com collapse because she focused on clients who were already wellestablished traditional organizations.
She did feel some of the effects when the hospitality industry cut its marketing budget after Sept. 11, 2001, but much of that business has returned, she said.
Bear is an enthusiastic proponent of the Internet who believes it is still far from reaching its full potential. New ways will continue to be found to use the Internet for such business purposes as communicating with customers, launching new products and exploring target markets, she said.
"The Internet can turn any company into a global entity," added David McCann, I-ology’s PR services director.
Anyone interested in job openings at the company can find information and send resumes at www.i-ology.com.